Face Your Giant [It’s Flawed Cartoon Wednesday]

A spot of humor to get you over the hump from studio melange.

“I love the duck!” Kerri said.

“It’s not a duck!” I wrinkled my nose. “It’s the golden goose!”

“It’s a duck,” she said. “And I love it.”

I have no real explanation for this odd Flawed Cartoon so don’t ask. I can only offer that I’m generally fascinated by that-thing-in-people that says, “stand your ground” even when the flag they plant will cause them great harm. Smoking, for instance. Insisting, “I’m not creative!” Arguments for stagnation, as in, “But we’ve always done it this way!” “Argue for your limitations,” Richard Bach wrote, “and, sure enough, they are yours.” Imagined giants.

I’m also generally in awe of that-thing-in-people that says “stand your ground” even when faced with a real giant. Remember 1989, Tianamen Square, tanks and the man who stood his ground? March For Our Lives. #MeToo. Real giants come in many forms. So do Jacks.

This Flawed Cartoon cuts both ways.

The only other thing I can offer is this: it’s a golden goose. There is no duck in Jack and the Beanstalk. Read the story.

Kerri just looked over my shoulder and said, “Duck.”

FACE YOUR GIANT reminder/merchandise

society 6 info jpeg copy

2beanstalk duck SHOWER CURTAIN copy 2

a shower curtain!

face your giant IPHONE CASE copy

beanstalk duck IPHONE CASE copy

phone cases

 

beanstalk FACE YOUR GIANT LEGGINGS copy

‘face your giant’ LEGGINGS

beanstalk FACE YOUR GIANT BEACH TOWEL copy

BEACH TOWELS

read Kerri’s blog post about GIANTS

melange button jpeg copy

kerrianddavid.com

face your giant ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 

 

 

Peel Off The Laminate

An illustration from my children's book, LUCY AND THE WATERFOX

An illustration from my children’s book, LUCY AND THE WATERFOX

Last week in a fit of frustration I climbed a ladder and scraped the damaged paint off the kitchen ceiling. The paint was compromised a few years ago and needed repair. The peeling paint was on my summer list of things to fix but we were traveling most of the summer. Autumn arrived and the to-do list remained. Scraping and sanding always leads to the necessity of new paint and Kerri said, “If you paint the ceiling it will make the walls look dingy. We better paint the walls, too.”

So, standing in the kitchen, fists filled with paint chips, discussing color possibilities, we realized that all of our color choices were defined by the fading yellow of the ancient kitchen countertop. The counter was at least 50 years old, laminate, and held in place by some well-placed packing tape. We’ve talked often of the day in some distant future when we could afford to replace it and that day seemed very far away.

In that moment, hands filled with paint chip possibilities, we realized that the countertop had became a metaphor. We were defining our choices based on a limitation. Or, said another way, we were limiting our possibilities based on our belief in an obstacle; what we could or could not do.

How often is that the case? What self-imposed limit defines the choices we see? How often do we unwittingly shrink our field of possibility? How often do we allow the things we don’t want to define our actions?

It took less than 30 minutes to pull off the old laminate, break it into pieces, bag it, and get it out of the house. As I wrote in an earlier post, the spontaneous kitchen remodel began when we realized we had the power to remove the limit. We had the capacity to make choices based upon a different set of criteria. Before the spontaneous remodel we believed we couldn’t afford to change the kitchen countertops. The moment of paint-chip revelation made us understand that we couldn’t afford not to change them.

Life is great at applying belief-laminate to us: what we think we can and cannot do. Something profound happens when, in a moment, we understand that we are capable of challenging the limit, of pulling off the laminate, of being forced to step into a greater field of possibility (known from henceforth as the “Now What?”)

It is worth noting that our new countertop, the old plywood support and made exceptionally beautiful with chalk paint and wax, has transformed our kitchen and our actions. We hang out in the kitchen. The colors we are considering using for paint are now based on what we want to create and not on what needs to go with the old yellow laminate.

title_pageGo here to buy hard copies (and Kindle) of my latest book: The Seer: The Mind of the Entrepreneur, Artist, Visionary, Innovator, Seeker, Learner, Leader, Creator,…You.

Go here (Leanpub) for all digital forms of The Seer.

Yoga.ForwardFoldOr, for kicks, go here for Fine Art Prints (and other stuff) of my paintings.

 

Aim For The Field

An illustration from my children's book, Play To Play

An illustration from my children’s book, Play To Play

Lately, Saul the Tai Chi master has been much in my thoughts. It is now September and it has been a year since he taught me a lesson that has become the new mantra of my life: orient to your own concern. Actually, he said that I should look beyond my opponent into the field of possibilities and orient to my own concern. “In this way,” he instructed, “you will no longer have an opponent.” He used the word “opponent” loosely. Any limitation or form of internal resistance is the opponent.

Beyond the opponent is a wide-open field of possibilities.

In the intervening year I have learned that I have been both my greatest opponent and the one who can look into the field of possibilities. Isn’t this true of all people? All stories worth telling (and hearing) are ultimately tales of transcending the inner opponent. If you need help identifying your personal mythic journey simply listen to the areas in life in which you say to yourself, “I can’t.” In that place you will find your opponent. You will also be surprised to find that your inner opponent is most often an orientation to other people’s concern; the fear of what others might think is a mighty inner-monster creator.

I’ve also learned that Saul’s lesson has come to me in many forms throughout the course of my life. For instance, many years ago I directed plays and, because I am also a visual artist, I was often in the position of designing the sets as well. With great love and humor, another terrific mentor watched as I struggled with my dual role. He gently showed me that I was orienting my designs according to the budget and construction limitations I perceived. I was working in the wrong order, asking “how” before lingering in the potential.   He told me that I needed to “Live first in the possibilities.” Design/orient according to the potential and not the limitations.

To live first in the possibilities is to walk the imagination without a leash. It is to let the imagination run wild. What is beyond your capacity to imagine? What is possible beyond the boundaries of belief? At one point in my life cell phones were science fiction. Today, they are ordinary.

Look beyond the opponent. Orient to your own concern. Imagine how life might change if instead of asking, “Can we do this?” we began by asking, “What’s possible?” And then aim for the field.

title_pageGo here to buy hard copies (and Kindle) of my latest book: The Seer: The Mind of the Entrepreneur, Artist, Visionary, Innovator, Seeker, Learner, Leader, Creator,…You.

Go here for all digital forms of The Seer.

Yoga Series 7Go here for fine art prints of my paintings

What’s The Story

This is a very old watercolor that I called The Inner Monologue

This is a very old watercolor that I called The Inner Monologue

All the ladies were talking about how their bodies have changed with age. My body has changed, too! You’d never know it now but I used to be less than two feet tall with really pudgy knees. Kerri punched me when I offered my perspective on my body change. Apparently there is a statute of limitation for how far back in time you can go on the my-body-has-changed conversation.

When I was studying acting we were taught to write backstories for our characters. The play script was filled with clues but we learned that a character is not 3 dimensional until it has an articulated history. This was always problematic for me. I had no problem creating a backstory – that was easy – and I could justify my imagined story happenings in the script – but I couldn’t see how my imagined story led to more specific actions in the performance. If anything, the backstory got in my way. Like all young actors I got lost in the backstory, trying to “tell” it rather than pursue my clear action. Acting, like life, is about the pursuit of desire. My backstory muddied my ability to act. Acting is an art form of the present moment.

When I was teaching acting I came across the same problem. The young actors would spend hours telling me the details of their backstory which only served to diffuse their present action. They’d try to perform their history instead of pursue their current target.

The backstory was interesting but functionally useless in the present moment.

I’m finding the same challenge off the stage as I found on it. In one form or another I’ve coached a lot of people. I hear a lot of backstories. Our backstories are interesting. They do what they are meant to do: they give us identity. We spend hours and hours telling each other about our past adventures and abuses. People are storytellers, telling the story of their lives all day, everyday. Most of the storytelling concerns the past. What we did or did not do, what was done to us or justifying what we did to others. Most backstories are about limitation. Most backstories have a root in fear that show up as “reasons why I can’t” stories. Do you remember the famous Richard Bach quote? Argue for your limitations and sure enough they are yours. As interesting and informing as it is, very little of the backstory is functionally useful in the present moment. I don’t want the person I was a decade ago defining the choices I make today.

It’s become something of a mantra for me, something I find myself writing or saying a lot: The actions we need to take are usually very simple. The story we wrap around them make them difficult. What’s the story?

title_pageGo here to buy hard copies (and Kindle) of my latest book: The Seer: The Mind of the Entrepreneur, Artist, Visionary, Innovator, Seeker, Learner, Leader, Creator,…You.

Go here for fine art prints of my paintings:

This painting is called Icarus.

This painting is called Icarus.

Step Into The Pool

From my children’s book, “Lucy & The Waterfox.” This is what Lucy looks like when she gives up her dream.

Do you remember this phrase from Richard Bach: Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they are yours. I am a notorious eavesdropper and today, listening to the conversations, I think all of life is one long argument for limitations.

The wicked thing about arguing for limitations (I think to myself while eavesdropping) is that we rarely recognize that we are doing it. For instance, blaming others for our misery is actually an argument for limitation. Blaming is an abdication of responsibility, an investment in the notion that, “I can do nothing about that which bothers me.” Blame is an assignment of potency to everyone but your self.

I think all things worth knowing are paradoxical. Arguments for limitation are double-edged because they often also mark the boundary between safe and not safe. An argument for a limitation often looks on the surface to be a defense of the perimeter or an argument for safety. The fulfillment of a dream usually requires a step or two beyond the perimeter and who hasn’t dipped their toe into the pool of their big dream only to pull it back and refuse to wade into it. The shore is safe and known. Stepping into the dream pool never feels safe because the depth of the water is always unknown – and no one ever knows how to swim in the dream pool until they jump in. Staying safely ensconced in Plan B is a great disguised argument for limitation. It is a disguise that will always make sense; self-imposed limitations always make rational sense.

Go here to get my latest book, The Seer: The Mind of the Entrepreneur, Artist, Visionary, title_pageSeeker, Learner, Leader, Creator…You.

Go here for hard copies

Listen Beyond The Wall

788. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

Megan told me that there are cultures that never talk about disease. They believe that the spoken word has power so rather than talk about the disease they speak about the road to health. Or, they assume health and speak about it in the present tense, thus creating health.

We walk a path defined by our assumptions. We see what we expect to see. We see what we believe. When we talk about not being creative or not being good enough, that is what we reinforce. That is what we assume so that is what we create. Or that is what we create so that is the role we assume.

I learned again today (apparently a lesson with no stickiness) assumptions are tricky because they are hard to see. Assumptions are the rules for the game we play, they are the guidelines for the roles we believe we must fulfill. At the base of every miscommunication is a dueling set of assumptions.

People withhold their voices because they assume they know how others will perceive what they say. “I don’t want you to take this the wrong way,” is a statement steeped in assumption. Can you ever know how others will hear what you say? People diminish their truth because they believe they know how others will react. Can we ever know?

Assumptions are scary to challenge because they orient us. We locate ourselves in the world through the assumptions we make. It takes some fortitude to suspend our assumptions. It takes a desire to reach beyond what we think we know. The skill of listening is really about hearing beyond the noise-wall of our assumptions.

I can say, “I love you” and you will hear that I am cold. You can say, “I want to be near you” and I will hear that you are pushing me away. This is the power of assumption. We crush what is dear when wrangling with our assumptions and not what was actually intended. And so the story goes.

The spoken word has power. The internal monologue has power. When Richard Bach wrote, “Argue for your limitations and sure enough they are yours,” he was writing about assumptions. He was writing about the power of the word. Implied in his caution is the flipside of the coin: argue for your liberation and sure enough it is yours. The message is the same: flow happens when we can see and step beyond our assumptions.

What Do You Feed Your Mind?

743. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

I found a document in my files labeled, “Prompts.” I opened it to find out what it was. This is what I found:

The mind becomes powerful with language. What we put into it becomes important
Because
In order to create, we start thinking. What do you feed your mind?

Watch your thought. The energy of your thought goes somewhere
So,
Being ‘out of your mind’ takes on a whole new meaning.

A brain opens; thoughts fly free.
Think on that the next time you ask yourself:
“Where did that thought come from?”

I create this perspective so it must also create me.
Don’t you want to know
Where is the outer limit of this thing called “awareness?”

The perspective we choose is the story we tell.
Likewise,
Every thought impacts everyone all the time. It’s a cycle. It’s a ripple. We are constantly in a cycle of re-creation (do you know it?)

“Paradox is hard for the intellect to deal with,”
I said to no one in particular,
“However, Intuition expects paradox.”

The thought that tells me I am stupid is secondary pain,
It follows
After I trip or say the wrong thing (initial pain).

Soul thinks wide and deep thoughts
And does not understand Limitations.
So think soul thoughts and act accordingly.